Two Stories

MY STUDENTS AND FRIENDS in the West have told me

many inspiring accounts of people they knew who were helped, as

they died, by the teachings of Buddha. Let me tell you here the stories

of two of my students, and of the way they have faced death.


Dorothy was a student of mine who died from cancer at St.

Christopher's Hospice in London in England. She had been a talented

artist and embroiderer, art historian, and tour guide, as well as a color

therapist and healer. Her father was a well-known healer, and she

had a great respect for all religions and spiritual traditions. It was late

in her life when she discovered Buddhism, and became, as she said

"hooked"; she said she found its teachings gave her the most compelling

and complete view of the nature of reality. Let some of her

spiritual friends, who cared for her while she died, tell you in their

own words how Dorothy let the teachings help her when she came

to die:

Dorothy's death was an inspiration to us all. She died with such

grace and dignity, and everyone who came in contact with her felt

her strength—doctors, nurses, auxiliary helpers, other patients, and

not least her spiritual friends, who were fortunate enough to be

around her during the last weeks of her life.

When we visited Dorothy at home before she went into the hospice,

it was clear that the cancer was in a very aggressive phase, and

her organs were beginning to fail. She had been on morphine for

over a year and now she could hardly eat or drink; yet she never

complained, and you would never have known that she was in fact

in considerable pain. She had grown terribly thin, and there were

moments when she was obviously exhausted. But whenever people

came to visit her, she would greet them and entertain them, radiating

a remarkable energy and joy unfailingly serene and considerate. One

of her favorite things was to lie on her couch, and listen to tapes of


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